One Day on Earth

The World's Story is Yours to Tell

Des Gypaètes et des Hommes - Trailer (3'00) from Mathieu Le Lay on Vimeo.

Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Mathieu Le Lay, and I am an independent filmmaker and photographer. In 2008, after I graduated from a French wildlife film school, I started preparing my own documentary film projects on nature and wildlife conservation.

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
Since I was a child, I’ve always liked hiking, spending my time in nature, hearing and looking at the beauty of our countryside: birds flying, leaves falling, the sun rising, deer grazing, just feeling nature from the inside out.

April 2005 was a turning point in my life. After a training course in Australia, I totally changed the way I used to consider nature. As a volunteer ranger, I was totally immersed into a national park for two months. There, I realized that each species on the earth is important for us. Ethics is now a strong word that means a lot to me. A true passion for nature, combined with a deep sensitivity for wildlife conservation, have since sprouted in me.

I thus decided to go to the UK to study environmental sciences and wildlife conservation. I really started caring about sustainable development. I began considering humans as one species among the others, realizing that mankind is nothing alone.

My taste for the beauty of life and all kinds of cinema genres led me in 2007 to join a French wildlife film school. This film school allowed me to combine my two passions, i.e. nature and cinema. I could use video as a powerful media for raising public awareness. I believe it is important to communicate as much as possible with children on nature conservation issues. I would describe myself as an adventurer who wants to discover the wilderness with a video camera. Following this approach, I want to act for wildlife conservation using the means of documentary films.

What inspired you to be a filmmaker?
I’ve always been very attracted by art and creativity. In the world of documentary filmmaking, I think Jacques Perrin’s films are currently the best we can do. Also, all the BBC wildlife documentaries I’ve always been fascinated by for their quality and beauty. From a cinematographic point of view, directors such as Wim Wenders, Clint Eastwood, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, really inspire me. I am also very attracted by all kind of road movies where the quest for freedom is paramount. Through my films, I aim to draw emotions both from the images and the soundtrack (which is always an original one). I’d like to encourage the public to contemplate our natural world in order to be more respectful of it. The more we contemplate nature, the more subtle and respectable we find it.

Nature allows me a way of being, a way of feeling alive. Into the wild, I feel a deep sense of neutrality and freedom. In this vast playground, I can find an effective way to freely express myself. With a still camera or a video camera, I capture snapshots of natural events. I believe it is by filling people with wonder that we will convince them to protect our planet.

Who are your heroes?
My heroes are all of these people living their dreams, their passion whatever it is. All of these people who can cultivate happiness, particularly those living in tough conditions. I admire all of those living simply and freely, without any constraint. I met Malagasy people last summer 2009; despite the high poverty rates, they keep smiling and live in an altruistic manner.

I have also strong respect for all these people fighting to preserve nature by all means : conservation actions on the field, creation of natural reserves, reintroduction of threatened species and so on.

What do you feel you want to shoot on 10.10.10?
On 10.10.10, I will be with a video camera filming vultures flying all over the sky in the mountains. As the Bearded Vulture reintroduction program is still continuing this year all across the Alps, there will be other bird releases next spring and I will follow the first movements of the birds during those months. It is a tremendous project proving that it is possible to successfully reintroduce a threatened species in its natural habitat.

Why is this important to you?
We must strive to change our behavior towards the environment. We need to find solutions. We need actions. We need change. The “One Day on Earth” project is an extremely good experience to share with people acting the same way. Finally, I would like to say that I’m still looking for partners (foundations, sponsors, broadcasters) to achieve some of my film projects. Thank you in advance.

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